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thewhyteboar

Driving and the automobile are a blight on American society

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Yup. Just look at San Diego, it's a freeway design travesty with the worst, most wreckless and selfish dumb people driving giant trucks and suvs.

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But my NIMBY neighbors assure me it's really transit that's social engineering?

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If the brt in my town went just a few more miles down the road, I would live and work right on that line. I'd love to have that. I may get a bike and use that for the last few miles just for shits and giggles.

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I totally agree. Living in a grotesque cement jungle such as the Dallas metroplex is really cumbersome at times. Thankfully I now get to work from home permanently, but even driving from my suburb to my office on the other side of the suburb is 30 minutes of traffic, pollution, frustration, but some good sports radio though. Taking the rail into downtown was some of my most relaxing time as a commuter though. I'd be okay getting taxed up the ass if it meant we go all in on better public transportation and the elimination of clogged roads. 

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1 minute ago, Comet said:

I totally agree. Living in a grotesque cement jungle such as the Dallas metroplex is really cumbersome at times. Thankfully I now get to work from home permanently, but even driving from my suburb to my office on the other side of the suburb is 30 minutes of traffic, pollution, frustration, but some good sports radio though. Taking the rail into downtown was some of my most relaxing time as a commuter though. I'd be okay getting taxed up the ass if it meant we go all in on better public transportation and the elimination of clogged roads. 

 

 

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I am so thankful I no longer have to take the interstate or have to drive over 30 minutes to get to work.  I only live about 10 minutes away from work, and I just have to deal with a few intersections.

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1 hour ago, 2user1cup said:

Yup. Just look at San Diego, it's a freeway design travesty with the worst, most wreckless and selfish dumb people driving giant trucks and suvs.

 

Sounds like someone hasn't been to LA. San Diego is a utopia in comparison.

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3 minutes ago, Keyser_Soze said:

 

Sounds like someone hasn't been to LA. San Diego is a utopia in comparison.

LA drivers are far superior. Attacking LA is San Diego projection.

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6 minutes ago, 2user1cup said:

LA drivers are far superior. Attacking LA is San Diego projection.

 

At least San Diego has properly marked freeway signs.

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It's a good article and a well made point. It's also terribly hard to undo, but we're starting to see some small glimmers of hope. 

 

San Diego is updating their long term transportation plan, and it's a good deal less car centric than it has been in even the recent past. The last long term plan put 36% of funds towards transportation, and the aggressive new strategy (if it survives the planning process and tax hikes), seems like it would put far more money towards allowing people to move without cars. Still, even this new plan would aim to take public transportation from 1.5% to 5% of vehicle trips. 

 

So even this incredibly optimistic solution would hardly dent the problem.

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6 minutes ago, TwinIon said:

It's a good article and a well made point. It's also terribly hard to undo, but we're starting to see some small glimmers of hope. 

 

Amsterdam is one of a number of cities in Europe that gave itself over to cars and then realized they'd fucked up and switched back. They didn't just fall out of the sky in their current form, as many people seem to want to believe.

 

3052699-inline-i-eerste-van-der-helststr

 

https://www.fastcompany.com/3052699/these-historical-photos-show-how-amsterdam-turned-itself-into-a-bike-riders-paradise

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It’s depressing to see all the unused trolley tracks all over Philadelphia. If we had those it’d make getting around the city so much easier. Instead, it’s two main lines and a lot of walking or waiting for buses.

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27 minutes ago, Jason said:

Amsterdam is one of a number of cities in Europe that gave itself over to cars and then realized they'd fucked up and switched back. They didn't just fall out of the sky in their current form, as many people seem to want to believe.

 

3052699-inline-i-eerste-van-der-helststr

 

https://www.fastcompany.com/3052699/these-historical-photos-show-how-amsterdam-turned-itself-into-a-bike-riders-paradise

That's true, and they're a great model of what can be done, but they also have a density that few American cities can match.

 

I won't pretend that these numbers are truly apples-to-apples, but based on the wikipedia's numbers, the city of Amsterdam has a population density of 13,300 sq/mi, three times the 4,325 sq/mi of San Diego city. Once you start talking about the metro areas, things get far worse. 57% of Amsterdam's population lives in the urban area, compared with only 43% of San Diego, but even that makes it look closer than it is since Amsterdam's metro area is just under 1000 sq miles, compared to San Diego's 4,500 sq miles.

 

When I see those photos of traffic through Amsterdam, they're all surrounded by buildings, which isn't really how all but a few square miles of San Diego is. If you magically willed all of the planned San Diego trolly lines into existence tomorrow, the city still just isn't built in such a way that one could easily live and work without needing a car. As the OP article points out, things like zoning and parking requirements really need to change before the density for transit or bike systems can really have any hope of working.

 

Now, San Francisco doesn't have the benefit of that kind of excuse. The city proper has a density of 18,838 sq/mi. Then again, according to this, only 50% of trips are made in cars, so they're not doing too bad.

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The United States needs to liberalize zoning at the federal level, eliminate subsidies for automobiles, restructure our mortgaging process, strengthen the power of local governments and regulate infrastructure funding. Suburban tract housing in its current form should be outlawed. Do these things and most of America's problems will slowly fade away.

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@TwinIonhit on a number of reasons that the Amsterdam case study isn’t directly applicable to the majority of American cities. But increased population density is coming to america and we need to plan now for the transportation future we want to have. I *hate* driving, but I live in Houston so it’s a necessity at this point. But I love those glimpses of a more sensible transportation scheme when I get to spend the day in the city and use the light rail to get around.

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5 hours ago, 2user1cup said:

Yup. Just look at San Diego, it's a freeway design travesty with the worst, most wreckless and selfish dumb people driving giant trucks and suvs.

 

San Diego freeways are better than Los Angeles freeways.  

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We were in SD for 4th of July week.  Stayed in Mission Beach.  We took the trolley from Old Town down to the Gaslamp to watch a Padres game.  The trolley ride wasn't bad, but it was expensive - $18 for a round trip for 3 of us.  That's outrageous.  If you want to encourage public transport, you have to either make it free or extremely low cost.  Also you need to expand where it goes.  It would have been awesome to take the trolley from Mission Beach all the way to downtown, but there isn't a trolley station anywhere close to the beach. 

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1 hour ago, TwinIon said:

That's true, and they're a great model of what can be done, but they also have a density that few American cities can match.

 

I won't pretend that these numbers are truly apples-to-apples, but based on the wikipedia's numbers, the city of Amsterdam has a population density of 13,300 sq/mi, three times the 4,325 sq/mi of San Diego city. Once you start talking about the metro areas, things get far worse. 57% of Amsterdam's population lives in the urban area, compared with only 43% of San Diego, but even that makes it look closer than it is since Amsterdam's metro area is just under 1000 sq miles, compared to San Diego's 4,500 sq miles.

 

When I see those photos of traffic through Amsterdam, they're all surrounded by buildings, which isn't really how all but a few square miles of San Diego is. If you magically willed all of the planned San Diego trolly lines into existence tomorrow, the city still just isn't built in such a way that one could easily live and work without needing a car. As the OP article points out, things like zoning and parking requirements really need to change before the density for transit or bike systems can really have any hope of working.

 

Now, San Francisco doesn't have the benefit of that kind of excuse. The city proper has a density of 18,838 sq/mi. Then again, according to this, only 50% of trips are made in cars, so they're not doing too bad.

 

Well for one, we were a lot more aggressive about literally tearing down our cities to run freeways through them.

 

1*SUxW5b-aNZzVr7xZ35Ae0g.jpeg

https://medium.com/@jacklule/on-reading-the-power-broker-part-6-aa80cdfca9c6

 

For another thing, we treat transportation policy and land use policy as completely divorced from each other, so you get shit like this where we dump money into building rail through SFH-zoned neighborhoods with zero thought about upzoning them. People aren't going to take transit if they can't get to it/live near it and it drops them off in the middle of a bunch of fucking houses.

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Cities need to address their existing transit networks and make incremental improvements until the ridership to support rail is there. Detroit is an excellent example of a city that has made these types of changes, and they're one of the few cities whose transit ridership is currently increasing.

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Also we have a lot of transit stations that are in freeway medians and the experience is absolutely hellish, it's loud as shit with all those cars racing by. And again, the immediate vicinity around freeways tend to be deadzones because they're not pleasant to be near. 

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11 minutes ago, Jason said:

Well for one, we were a lot more aggressive about literally tearing down our cities to run freeways through them.

And specifically to the advantage of rich white folks at the expense of poor people of all colors (but mostly black people of any level of wealth)

 

Take Richmond VA as an example. I-95 went right through the 'Harlem of the South' in Jackson Ward in the 50's for the Richmond-Petersburg turnpike. Then, with these people not really being compensated sufficiently for their losses, public housing was build en masse to give them a place to sleep, giving you one of the largest concentration of public housing on the east coast, which to this day continues to plague the city with crime. (In addition to other 'slum clearing' projects such as razing the Fulton Hill neighborhood) In the 70's they blasted through the working class white neighborhood of Oregon Hill for the downtown expressway, but did not continue to build through wealthy Windsor Farms, even though the highway master plan had this happening.

 

This thread/topic I could go on for a long time so I'll stop now. But like all things in (especially) midcentury US after Jim Crow, it was done to help rich white people at the expense of blacks.

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23 minutes ago, Uaarkson said:

Cities need to address their existing transit networks and make incremental improvements until the ridership to support rail is there. Detroit is an excellent example of a city that has made these types of changes, and they're one of the few cities whose transit ridership is currently increasing.

This is somewhat of a chicken and egg problem. People will follow investment in quality public transit, but it needs to be useful and able to feed on network effects.

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I rode my first ebike last week. Total game changer. It was incredible. If I lived in a city that had any discernible bicycling infrastructure I would immediately buy an ebike and use that to get around. Yes, I could ride a regular bicycle, but I can't show up disgustingly sweaty to work. Also, I am separated from work by 10 miles of 2 lane country highway. I would be killed the first day I tried to ride. Wish more cities would put in dedicated bike lanes (and bike highways linking nearby cities).

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13 minutes ago, Signifyin(g)Monkey said:

When self-driving cars come I hope supreme leader SFLUFAN makes shitty, non-AI guided driving punishable by death.

Car ownership should be punishable by death.

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2 minutes ago, thewhyteboar said:

Car ownership should be punishable by death.

 

Y u wanna kill me tho.

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